Having seen coverage of this brand new event on a few blogs, I figured I might as well put my experience out there. If you are unfamiliar with D&D Encounters, it is a weekly event, where anyone can join in with a 1st level character, and take part in one encounter per week. Check out the Wizards website for more details.
I took the opportunity to head out to Markham, Ontario, and join the event happening at Heroes’ World. I brought along two characters, to cover my options: a minotaur barbarian, and a reworked version of Wil Sturm, one of my Characters of the Day. I ended up using Wil, whom I had morphed into a hybrid paladin/warlord, so there would be at least a little healing. And good thing, too. It seemed like everyone and their grandmother had made a melee character. My party of four consisted of a goliath warden (more on him later), a changeling assassin, a human ranger (our only ranged combatant), and my pally/warlord.
The adventure started out as all great adventures do, in a tavern. We were looking for work, and managed to overhear a woman talking to a dwarf and a tiefling about a potential job. They left to discuss it further, and being the awesome humans that we were, the ranger and I kept an eye on them from the door of the bar. Sure enough, it was trouble, as the dwarf and tiefling, as well as some buddies, started mugging the woman. We leapt into action!
And it all went downhill from there. This is what the encounter area looked like: http://twitpic.com/197ti1
And with three melee characters, that bridge was going to get pretty clogged. It is at this point that I want to discuss the goliath warden. Please bear with me as I go off on a bit of a tangent.
The warden was played by a thirteen year old boy, who apparently only played D&D once before, and that was months ago. I am all for teaching new players the game, don’t get me wrong. But it is players like this boy that make me hate “newbies”. He understood the mechanics well enough, but damn, was he disruptive. The DM would barely get to finish a sentence before this kid jumped in with some inane, bound-to-go-wrong idea that just hindered the flow of the game. He was bragging about how he set himself on fire in a previous game, and kept saying he wanted to buy matches and oil this time around. I was very tempted to gag him with my dice bag. If there are any children reading this, or people with children, and you are thinking about learning D&D, I must make one suggestion: keep your damn mouth shut when it’s not your turn.
ANYWAY. The encounter was bogged down by that one rickety bridge that the goliath fell off of, along with a bandit. The ranger pulled his weight by Twin Striking everything in sight. I blew a daily to revive him when he got knocked out by a halfling slinger. The assassin caught on fire a few times, and I had to use a Heal check to bring him back, since I was forced to use my only Inspiring Word on myself.
All in all, it was a relatively enjoyable experience. The DM was a solid, competent DM, though my one complaint is that instead of saying “roll an Athletics/Heal/Perception check”, he would say “roll a d20″, and then leave it to us to go “wait a minute, what am I adding to this? What skill do you want?” I will be going back next week, for sure, and praying to Kord that I don’t get stuck with the goliath child again.
In other news, I will be running a new campaign come April. A few players from my last campaign, and some new folk, will be delving into the city of Springswich. You can follow the action and read up on the world at our Obsidian Portal site. And, if you are interested in play-by-plays of both D&D Encounters, and the upcoming Springswich campaign, follow me on Twitter at @vectorman14.